Fans were excited to learn Stephen Nichols was returning to DAYS OF OUR LIVES, but it turns out he wasn’t exactly reprising the role of Steven Earl “Patch” Johnson! (We’ll explain later… It’s complicated…) The actor first introduced the character of Patch to viewers back in 1985 and became such a fan favorite that his supporters are always happy to see him back in Salem. His initial run took him through October 1990, and Nichols returned to DAYS from June 2006-February 2009 and August 2015-August 2018.
Steve’s nickname, “Patch,” came after he lost his eye during a knife fight with Bo Brady back when they were in the Merchant Marines and fought over a woman. Steve arrived in Salem to work for Victor Kiriakis, but when he was ordered to get a piece of film from Kimberly Brady, both men were arrested. Thankfully, Victor blackmailed someone else into taking the blame for them. Steve soon fell in love with Kayla Brady but distanced himself from her when he began having disturbing memories. He discovered that his sister, Adrienne Johnson, had killed their father in self-defense, and took the blame to protect her, though she confessed before he could be sentenced.
Steve planned to help Harper Deveraux fake his death, but Victor switched the blanks with real bullets, and Steve went on the run with Kayla until he could be cleared of attempted murder charges. When they returned to Salem, Steve learned that Jack Deveraux was his long-lost brother, but kept the truth secret because he was dying. Jack fell madly in love with Kayla, so Steve pushed her towards the ailing Jack so he could be happy. Jack and Kayla were married, but Steve discovered Harper was poisoning Kayla, so he kidnapped her for her own protection and they began an affair. When Jack found out about it, he raped Kayla Steve pushed him off a roof. Jack’s injuries were so severe he required a kidney transplant and Steve was guilted into donating one of his.
Harper kidnapped Kayla and while Steve saved her, she was injured and suffered from deafness and loss of speech. After a successful surgery, Steve proposed and Kayla got her speech back in time to say “I do.” After their honeymoon in the Orient, danger continued to follow the couple as they tangled with a vengeful Harper and got mixed up with Nick Corelli’s fight to keep Eddie from stealing his fortune. When Eddie was shot in a standoff, Nick gave Steve and Kayla his mansion as a thank you.
Steve joined the ISA and performed dangerous missions, but when Kayla became pregnant, he focused his attention back on her. Steve’s presumed-dead wife, Marina Toscano, showed up to ask for Steve’s help and when she turned up dead, a jealous Kayla was convicted. She gave Steve their newborn daughter, Stephanie Johnson, to raise, but the nanny he hired turned out to be crazy, and Kayla escaped from prison to help Steve rescue their baby. Thankfully they were successful, and as a bonus, the charges against Kayla were dropped! Steve joined the police force, but after he was injured in a boat explosion, Lawrence Alamain had Steve’s IV poisoned and after he died, stole the body!
After 16 years, Steve returned to Salem suffering from amnesia and calling himself Nick. Kayla tried to help him remember his past, and he struggled to reclaim his life. While Steve and Kayla eventually reunited, he came to realize that during his absence, he had been tortured and brainwashed by the DiMeras. EJ DiMera controlled Steve and forced him to kidnap John Black and try to kill Shawn Douglas. Thankfully, Kayla’s love managed to finally break through the brainwashing.
Ava Vitali showed up in Salem hoping to resume her relationship with “Patch” and held Hope, Steve, Bo, and Kayla hostage until Steve agreed to come back to her. After Roman and Abe rescued them, it was revealed that Ava had been drugged into acting crazy, and after she recovered, she left them alone. That same year, Kayla gave birth to her and Steve’s second child, Joey. The family left Salem in 2009 to make a fresh start elsewhere.
Steve returned to Salem in 2015, a few years after Kayla, with their now-teenaged son in tow. He was determined to put their family back together, but Ava plotted to use Joey to torture Kayla and have Steve for herself. She claimed to have given birth to Steve’s baby years ago but they were later told that the infant had died. When Joey took revenge and smothered Ava to death with a pillow, Steve took the blame for the crime. After Kayla and Steve reconciled, he resigned from the ISA and started a private investigation firm with John Black. The couple tied the knot again on Valentine’s Day, 2017.
After learning that his child with Ava was really alive, Steve went in search of his son and brought Tripp Dalton back to Salem. Tripp’s curiosity into his mother’s death led to Joey finally confessing to the crime and going to prison. Steve began suffering from vision problems and dizziness and was diagnosed with an incurable illness. But in reality, John had been forced to poison his best friend! While a stop was put to it before Steve was killed, the poison caused him to lose his eyesight. Stefan DiMera was able to offer a miracle cure via a bionic eye, though Kayla had to go behind her husband’s back to get it.
Unfortunately, Steve was arrested for leaking government secrets after Stefan used Steve’s electronic eye to record the secure documents he was looking at. He left Salem to clear his name, and after a year went by, Kayla had moved on with Justin and when Steve came home, he wasn’t himself. Literally — Stefano DiMera had transplanted his consciousness into Steve’s body!
Working together with Hope Brady, who had been brainwashed into becoming Princess Gina again, they plotted to split up John and Marlena to have them for themselves. That didn’t quite work out, but “Stevano” was determined to regain control of the DiMera empire and used a trigger word to brainwash Chad into doing his bidding. He had Marlena abducted and Dr. Rolf implant a chip to make her more pliable to his will so she would forget about John and marry him. Thankfully, his evil scheme was thwarted before it was too late.
“Stevano” was brought to the hospital where Kayla was forced to attempt to remove the brainwashing chip herself after Dr. Rolf refused to help. Fearing she might damage Steve’s brain, Kayla attempted to abort the surgery but when the chip threatened to self-destruct, she had no choice but to remove it! Although Steve woke up with amnesia, he very quickly remembered his “Sweetness” and was horrified to find out what he’d done while Stefano was in control of his body. He was also upset to find out that Kayla thought he’d left her and was planning to marry Justin!
Stay tuned to see what happens next!